Secrets and Lies: A Claire Callahan Mystery
by P.H. Turner
- Your first Claire Callahan mystery, Unspeakable Grudges, had a serial killer at its center. Secrets and Lies has a completely green killer. What made you change your focus?
The urge to murder lies coiled within all of us. What prompts a person to let the serpent loose is a vast and fascinating territory. The serial killer, Clint, was seeking redemption. In Secrets and Lies, Jesse kills because his personal code demands it. He must protect the women.
- I’m not surprised that you used to write for broadcast news. I can see your fluidity with writing in your prose. Do you think that was a good training ground for a future fiction writer? Did you frequently write news stories about crime?
Absolutely. Writing is like practicing the piano. The more you do it, the better you become. Stringing words together to create meaning and pack an emotional punch well comes after writing hundreds of pages that went into the shredder. I begin writing for an early morning news show; many of these shows air at 4:00 a.m. and are devoted to agriculture news and lots of local weather. I wrote about corn smut, detasseling corn, and corn worms. Things I knew nothing about. I learned how to research and write a story.
The more proficient you become, the more important stories you are assigned. I talked with a man who was convicted of a brutal murder. He was smart and charismatic. I was chilled when I realized a woman stranded on the highway might feel comfortable if he stopped and offered help.
- You have stated your admiration for Margaret Atwood previously. What do you think of her new novel, The Testaments?
Atwood’s powerful, crisp style and intricate plotting move the book along. Atwood uses three narrators, women who must come to terms with who they are, what they believe, how they will react when their beliefs are challenged. Atwood’s descriptions of Aunt Lydia’s reflecting on her life choices were beautifully written. The Testaments is classic Atwood. She surprised me at every turn.
- Where do you do most of your writing? Do you have an indoor and an outdoor space you prefer?
I have a dedicated office where I write every day. My adorable mutt Chet snoozes under my desk.
- You have written about rodeo riding and Navajo reservations. How do you research such diverse topics? Do you use Google, do library research, interview people, or do something else?
I produced a couple of rodeos for television, so life experience helped me to describe Clint’s bull riding.
I’ve traveled and photographed the spectacular scenery of the Navajo Nation. When I was writing the trilogy, I went to Flagstaff and Tuba City and photographed for the first time, the Blue Canyon and Moenkopi Wash.
One of the aspects of the Navajo I appreciate is their aspiration to live in hozho. Being “in hozho” is to be in harmony and one with and a part of the world around you.
- You belong to both the Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. Which is better for aspiring or beginning writers?
Both have given me invaluable opportunities to learn more about my craft. Sisters in Crime offers online webinars, social media groups, and face-to-face gatherings at national and regional conferences. MWA hosts e-mail lists on yahoo groups, with threads concerning contracts, publicity, agents, self-publishing, and other business questions. I highly recommend them both.
- What’s next for Claire Callahan and P.H. Turner?
Claire’s working on solving the murder of a well-known director found murdered in the college theater.
I love a thriller with a female PI. Claire works for an attorney’s office. She is tasked with trying to protect a murdered man’s heir and prevent the police from arresting her for her father’s murder. By all accounts, Morgan Tutweiler deserved to be murdered so there is no shortage of suspects. Secrets and Lies is a whydunit rather than a whodunit with a Columbo-style plot where you know the murderer’s identity from the beginning. It is a fast-paced thriller where everyone is hiding something. It will appeal to thriller lovers. 4 stars!
Thanks to the author and Great Escapes Book Tours for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
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About Secrets and Lies
Secrets and Lies: A Claire Callahan Mystery
Private Investigator Mystery
2nd in Series
Summit Peak Publishing (September 23, 2019)
Paperback: 270 pages
Digital ASIN: B07Y8QPRZ6
Shot to death in his home, Morgan Tutwiler leaves behind a multimillion-dollar business and a daughter who hasn’t spoken to him in years. And she isn’t alone in wanting him dead. Plenty of people wanted the most hated man in Denver dead in P. H. Turner’s latest novel in the Claire Callahan series.
Reminiscent of the finest gumshoe storytelling, Secrets and Lies, would not be complete without Turner’s signature quirky characters and inventive plot.
About P.H. Turner
P.H. Turner writes mystery and suspense novels set in the mountains and canyons of the West where she grew up and spent most of her working life. Pat worked in broadcast journalism on both coasts, the Midwest, and the Rocky Mountains. With roots to a Texas farm homesteaded in the 1850s, she’s returned to live within miles of the old farm.
Pat is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America.
Website – https://www.phturner.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/P.H.TurnerAuthor
Purchase Link – Amazon
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